In the past, I've held that Randy Winn, while a good player, just doesn't fit with the Giants. See, there's this kid named Nate Schierholtz, and, well, you've done well, Randy. Really, you have, but, you know.... It's not you. It's me! Best of luck in your future endeavors.
That might have been short-sighted, though. It was easy to believe in 2006, as Winn was abysmal. If anyone wanted him and his remaining three years, they were welcome to him. Like a newt-stricken peasant, though, he got better. He was good last year, and he's been fantastic this year. He only has one more year left on his deal, and it isn't as if the Giants are teeming with young center fielders, so he's a perfect mix of short-term success and short-term commitment, and....
...wait, he doesn't play center field anymore? Why in the heck not?
The Giants spent $78M over two offseasons on their Anyone but Randy Winn in Center Campaign. Can you imagine what would have happened if Winn were allowed to start in center after he signed his extension? My goodness, all sorts of calamity. The Giants might have been forced to look for another corner outfielder, for one. Maybe even one who had 20-homer potential. Twenty homers isn't very scrappy. Thirty or more is just downright bourgeoisie.
Without the ABRWICC, the Giants might have had a better idea right now of how Nate Schierholtz would adjust to major league pitching. How tacky. Young players are supposed to drift back and forth between Fresno and San Francisco, getting irregular at-bats and shuffling around positions over a period of several seasons. That's how things are done. Name one team that's ever benefited from handing a spot to a young player with a record of minor league success. The Dodgers didn't trust guys like Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, so they signed Juan Pierre and Andruw Jones. Now the Dodgers are probably going to make the playoffs. Theory proven. Grab some pine, Nate.
Two extra balls would have fallen in for base hits over the course of the 2008 season if the ABRWICC hadn't been successful. That's not entirely fair. Maybe three or four. Even if Winn would have saved some bases by actually hitting a freaking cutoff man when he needed to, Anyone but Randy Winn has saved a tremendous amount of run over this season. Has Winn even hurt himself once this season diving for a ball? That's what I thought.
So let's all be thankful for Anyone but Randy Winn in Center. There's only $54M left to go, so let's not bicker over which player's second-half decline most closely resembles the end of Jose Cruz, Jr.'s Giants career, or which 36-year-old player never should have been signed as a center fielder in the first place. It will all work out. It'll be fun to watch. Yep. Fun. To. Watch. I'm not tired of watching Anyone but Randy Winn flail around after sliders in the dirt. Nope. Fun to watch.